LightSpeed POS Cements Move into Cloud, Quietly Trounces Shopify in Sales Processed

If someone asked you which Canadian startup’s point-of-sale system processed the most sales, you probably wouldn’t guess Montreal-based LightSpeed. But over the past year, it’s cloud-based and desktop POS systems processed $7.3 billion worth of sales.

That’s a big jump since the company last revealed how much money was going through its systems. In January, LightSpeed said that retailers using it’s products had processed $6 billion in sales the previous year.

It’s also well ahead of some better-known competitors. Shopify, probably the best known POS startup, processed just shy of $2 billion in sales in 2013.

The reason LightSpeed isn’t better-known might be due to its niche. While Shopify has over 100,000 customers, LightSpeed only has 19,000 and a far majority are brick-and-mortar stores.

“It’s always easy to be visible when you’re a brand that touches more customers,” says Dax Dasilva, LightSpeed’s founder and CEO. “A lot of people open e-stores, brick and mortar is a lot smaller subset.”

While LightSpeed offers its customers the ability to create an online store, that’s not its main focus, Dasilva says. Instead, his company wants to provide a “whole toolset” for retailers, providing and integrating products for both online and offline business.

“It’s one place where all your transactions happen,” Dasilva says.

That’s why the company is now moving into the analytics space. On Wednesday, LightSpeed rolled out a new analytics add-on for its cloud-based system. While the retail analytics space is getting increasingly competitive, Dasilva says he thinks the company has a leg-up.

“Stores don’t want multiple products,” he says. Instead, he’s betting that his customers want simpler one-click solutions. “We want to take the tech headache out of the equation,” Dasilva says.

Dasilva says his customers didn’t go into retail because they were into numbers or technology but rather because they were passionate about the products they sell. But with online sales eating up a bigger and bigger slice of the pie, Dasilva says retailers have to adapt or be disrupted.

“We need to get retailers to be data-driven businesses,” Dasilva says. But that’s a tough sell in a low-tech market, “we don’t even like to use the word analytics.”

Still, Dasilva says, analytics are what retailers need, allowing them to have better control over costly inventory and allowing them to “create personalized experiences for the customers.”

Brick and mortar stores can compete if they make themselves a destination, Dasilva says.

After all, “everything that’s available in the Apple Store is available online.”